Friday, November 27, 2009
Brenda, Buttons and I have just returned from an amazing trip to the southwest region of Tanzania, Africa. This is the first time One Small Drop has taken additional team members to meet the people of the Livingstone Mountains. To say we were warmly welcomed would be an understatement. I think Brenda’s description of “stepping into National Geographic” is very appropriate initial reaction.
Brenda and Buttons have a tender spot for orphans and widows because they can directly relate. Brenda’s husband (Button’s father) died suddenly 3 years ago. As we met with the 4 women’s groups in the communities of Kandete, Mesebe, Lusanje and Ndala, Brenda and Buttons were introduced as mother and daughter. There was an audible gasp of excitement and then cheers. Family is very important to them. The relationships being forged will change lives forever…ours and theirs.
One Small Drop’s purpose for this trip was to check on the progress of the identified projects for orphans and widows in this region (pigs and school uniforms). I was immediately impressed with the progress of the communities and the extent to which the women have been empowered to take on these projects. We also met with the leaders of the women’s groups to finalize some of the mundane details: opening a bank account, choosing a treasurer, choosing a tailor, identifying a manager and the role the manager will play, and bringing advocates up to speed on the projects. The group has decided on the name of “Kamelunda”. This is the first few letters of each community. It turns out this is also a word in their tribal language that means “together”.
We had the opportunity to hear from widows and orphans from each community. We will post some of these encounters in the near future. The ladies were anxious to share and teach us some of their activities, involving us in their dances and songs, and making mats. These mats are very versatile. They are made from grasses and tied or woven together. They can be used as beds, blankets, decoration, and for drying vegetables and grains.
Have you ever looked at a piece of weaving very close up? It is difficult to see any kind of pattern and sometimes the colors blend together so they are indistinguishable. That is how I had been seeing One Small Drop as we were getting our feet under us. But now I feel like I am getting a glimpse of the colors and intricate patterns God has in store for us! I cannot wait to watch as this tapestry continues to grow!